GOP flap breaks in Hernando

Investigation continues into nursing home breach

HERNANDO — For a brief time Saturday, the normally tranquil small Southern town of Hernando was at ground zero of a rapidly unraveling political story that has grabbed national attention.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran was only “five minutes away” from arriving on the historic Square just as his political rival, state Senator Chris McDaniel, was making the rounds with a Washington D.C. reporter in tow.

A group of young Cochran supporters were on hand to greet the incumbent U.S. Senator, who has served the Magnolia State in the U.S. Senate since 1978.

Cochran abruptly canceled his appearance at the annual A’Fair festival to deal with the breaking news that a Pearl, Miss. man had allegedly sneaked into his wife Rose’s Madison County nursing home room to snap a photo.

Later information showed he was able to obtain a pass to the nursing home but apparently gained unlawful entry into her room.

Rose Cochran’s stay at St. Catherine’s Village has been public knowledge since 2000.

While the motives of that individual, Clayton Kelly, are unclear, he remains in the Madison County Jail under $100,000 bond.

Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign has released a voice mail from opponent Chris McDaniel’s campaign manager, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner, to Cochran campaign manager Kirk Sims about the arrest of a political blogger accused of sneaking into the nursing home room of Cochran’s bedridden wife and posting images of her.

The Cochran campaign says the message appears to contradict the McDaniel campaign’s statements that it knew nothing before the arrest about the blogger and McDaniel supporter.

The conservative blog Breitbart, which has been friendly to the McDaniel camp, posed more serious questions on Monday as to exactly when the McDaniel camp knew about the video.

McDaniel operatives said they knew nothing about the video when it now appears the campaign had known about the incident for at least three weeks, dating back to April 26, and had intervened to stop Kelly from posting the video.

Desoto Times
5/20/14